Q: I don't seem to be able to get my lawn to look good, no mater what I do. I've been doing it myself for the last three years and it still looks like crap. What do you suggest? T.H. Ohio

This sometimes happens. We see the commercials on TV with the homeowner saying how they hate crabgrass, or they hate weeds, and all they had to do was buy this or that product and their lawn looks just perfect. The truth is, that things don't always work out like they do on TV. Lawns involve a complex set of variables that need to be balanced. Just adding fertilizer won't correct everything. Just putting down crabgrass control also won't correct everything. All aspects of the lawn need to be evaluated, particularly the type of grass growing in your particular climate along with an understanding of the soil it grows in. The wrong grass in the wrong climate and nothing you do will make that situation work. The right grass in the right climate, with a soil condition out of whack, and you'll have problems.

The best advice for someone having consistent problems with their lawn, or those who have tried doing it themselves without success, is to call a professional. The savings in aggravation and frustration will be well worth the investment in having a professional take a look see. Usually, qualified and trained pros will have your lawn looking the best it can possibly be in just a full season of care. Some problems take a little longer to correct, like compacted soils. Others may only need a special treatment or two to put it back in balance. The cost of hiring a lawn care pro, compared to doing it yourself, is really not that much different. And, if you were to pay yourself for the time you spend buying and applying fertilizers and weed controls, well, doing-it-yourself becomes a very expensive hobby.